Why Anyone Who Suggests Millennials Suck It Up and Move Back In with Their Parents Is an Asshole

09/20/2013 12:30 PM |

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You’ve probably heard by now, but millennials are a generation of entitled whiners who don’t understand that it’s historically been hard for every generation to make a living and there’s nothing special about millennials’ struggles and just because past generations didn’t have to deal with crippling, impossible to get rid of student loan debts, and didn’t live in a time with intractable wage stagnation and hiring freezes and stratospheric housing costs, doesn’t mean that there’s a single damn thing for millennials to complain about. God, can’t they just suck it up and move on with their lives? And if they can’t move on with their lives independently, can’t they just suck it up and move back in with their parents and then they can save money and then everything will be fine and the world is really not a bad place if you’re not a fucking whiny loser millennial.

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Well, so, that is the general tone of most pieces written about the financial and career struggles of the millennials, like in this horrible, patronizing article, titled “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy,” which employs fucking stick figures to demonstrate what the problem is with young people today. But perhaps the most tone-deaf, condescending advice that seems to be given to millennials who are struggling is that they move back in with their parents, spend a couple of years saving money, and then go back out into the world on their own. The latest place I read this problematic advice was in an exceptionally patronizing article by Megan McArdle called, “Hey Millennials, You Got a Raw Deal, Get Over It.” In the piece, McArdle advises millennials, to “let go” of the “ideas about what [they]‘re entitled to.” She uses herself as an example of someone from an earlier generation who had faced a difficult hiring climate, but managed to survive anyway through a mix of ingenuity and, uh, pluckiness, and, oh yeah! moving back in with her parents.

McArdle, who grew up in Manhattan which is where her parents still reside, references another article she wrote for the benefit of millennials, “13 Tips for Jobless Grads on Surviving the Basement Years,” where she said, “Enjoy your time back with your parents. No, seriously. I moved back in with my parents when I was 29, and stayed there for three years. This is exactly as embarrassing as it sounds. But I also really enjoyed the conversations I struck up with my dad, or spending Saturday afternoons baking with my mom. Eventually, I promise, you will move out and get your own apartment and marry and all those other adult things. ” Well! Doesn’t that sound nice. I mean, sure it might be embarrassing to move back in with your parents, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, millennials. Stop your whining.

Except, of course, this is totally bullshit advice. What I hate most about this advice is that it’s pretending to be coming down hard on overly privileged millennials and yet it is itself coming from a place of unbelievable privilege. Telling millennials to move back home with their folks is shitty advice because it presupposes that this is even an option at all. Not everyone has a parental home that they are able to go back to, for reasons that range from financial to emotional. Some people have bad relationships with their families. Some people have parents who wouldn’t have an extra room for them. And, newsflash, Megan McArdle, some people don’t have parents at all. But let’s say you do have parents who can let you move back in? Well, not everyone’s parents live in New York City where, tough as it is, there’s at least a viable job market. What if your parents live in a rural area where you wouldn’t be able to find a job where you could earn enough money to hope to re-enter the work force? What then?

I think the thing about these “Advice to Millennials” articles that drives me absolutely insane is that they all operate under the assumption that things will be ok. Maybe you will have to settle for less, maybe you’ll have to spend some awkward time in your parents’ basement, but things will be ok. Well, things aren’t ok for a lot of people. Things aren’t ok for people who have tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debts with no hopes of paying them and paying rent and no one to turn to for help. This is part of the problem of only having privileged people like McArdle in a position where their voices and experiences are the only ones that are heard. McArdle can’t speak for the majority of young people in this country, and yet she tries to give advice to a segment of the population that she can’t relate to at all. So she dismisses them as whiners. And it’s not just media people, obviously. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to slash the federal food stamp budget by $4 billion dollars. These lawmakers don’t know what it is to feel terror that you can’t feed your children, dread that your debit card will be declined when you go to buy cereal. Instead they feel that everyone is overly entitled to the basic human needs and should stop agitating for society to take care of its own, and just crawl back to their parents, I guess. Which, that’s a nice idea, if of course, our parents weren’t similarly struggling. Because, let’s face it, the kinds of people who usually have parents whose homes they can return to? They’re already the people who are probably going to be just fine anyway. It’s the people who don’t have private safety nets that need public support. And yet when they ask for it? They’re called whiners and losers and told to move back home. When did life become a nightmarish, Ayn Rand reality? I don’t know exactly, but here we are.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

18 Comment

  • i thought i could stomach this article when i read the first paragraph. i agree with everything in it. yes these Millennials (even their collective generation’s moniker is annoying!) ARE everything the first paragraph describes. the stereotype is true. i see them EVERY DAY with their strange mix of size 6 upper bodies with barbara bush tree trunk legs …and don’t get me started on their cankles! CANKLES AT 25…it’s shocking!!! everyday on the subway i hear them, all with their Kim Kardashian squeaky voice. (omg stop talking on the subway PLEASE! like, i mean like she like keeps talking, like…you get my drift) so yeah i often stare and thank GOD that at 43 i am still hotter than they are in their 20s. JUST LIKE their overrated poster child Lena Dunham…also horribly overrated. but i digress. it’s amusing, SO amusing to me when i read an article where the author in some pathetic attempt to debunk and refute an article said author doesn’t like about his/her own generation ACTUALLY PROVES THE POINT THEY TRY TO PROVE WRONG. the author needs to grow a set, so to speak. STOP WHINING about NOT WHINING. you’re embarrassing yourself. however, i got a nice giggle printing this classic whiny article out…i love being right about something. believe it or not, i’d LOVE to be proven wrong on this, with just ONE so-called “Millennial” who isn’t a stereotype. i can only dream that she is out there…somewhere….with a brain cell working. i can only hope.

  • Hey Lisa, first off you are a butt-ugly bitch married to some old turd that probably has a wrinkly ball sack. Second, thanks for stereotyping an ENTIRE FUCKING GENERATION, there are plenty of intelligent, hard-working millenials and whether you like it or not we have to shoulder the massive debt and shitty economy you assholes have left for us. A couple dumb bimbos on the subway is not a valid sample size, I can easily stereotype 40+ year olds too with their fake boobs, botox etc.

  • Lisa, your ignorance and prejudice illustrates precisely the point this article is making. Thanks for the lulz

  • whine whine whine pissedoff….thanks for proving my point. and NO you do NOT work hard. your generation has it’s head up your ass having orgasms over iphone, ipod, ithis, ithat. you don’t know LIFE. you just whine about how HARD you have it but you don’t have it hard at all. you are just what i loathe about your generation. you’re stupid, ignorant and short-sided.

  • pissedoff, even your “name” is showing how angry you are. whine whine whine. my GOD it’s tiresome. you make me sick with your typical attitude. i have yet to see a person of your generation ACTUALLY work, as opposed to being an actor, or model, or “i work in media’….gag. i mean honestly, no clue about the real world. it’s pathetic. at least i have the balls to use my real name. you are an entitled douchebag, mister “whiney pissed off”.

  • pissedoff, i am shocked at how stupid you are. everything you said about me was erroneous (a big word, i know, perhaps you should look it up) ….i am neither wrinkly, married, or the cause of your whiney whiney “woe is me” attitude or what you perceive as “reality”….every generation has debt, shitty economy to a point…you are the reason i am glad i chose to not be a mom. i’d kill myself if i had a child like you, and i do mean CHILD. you’re a grown-ass adult (i am guessing, here) and yet you point the finger to another whole generation (now who’s stereotyping an ENTIRE GENERATION?? you, buddy, YOU. so stop blaming others, see apparently your crappy parents never raised you with the one fact you must learn–NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING….you never learned that in your thick skull. pathetic.

  • shineymonkeyballs…gee what a stereotype you are, can’t use your real name, why that’s not media savvy, right? god you’re stupid. i mean botox can ‘fix’ ugly but there is NO CURE for ails you, pure ignorance. first, your ignorance and prejudice is what i see, not mine. YOU are ignorant for making a stupid statement. your generation makes me cringe. all the females have that kardashian squeaky voice and you actually think Macs are logical and the reason to live. i could go on and on but suffice it to say you and your ilk (it’s a word, look it up, genius) just plop along wasting time and whining instead of making this world a better place. i am so proud to be a Gen X. my god i feel bad for the wonderful things you missed out on. i’m glad i knew MTV when they actually played videos. when phones were connected to a wall with a spiral cord. etc etc….god help us all when your group gets in control. i’m glad my generation’s poster child is jimmy fallon…smart, talented….what do your people have, Kardashian? Miley? oh wait, maybe as far back as Britney? gee, what a legacy.

  • Wow. I can’t even begin to describe how completely wrong you are, Lisa. The only examples you give of our society are things that were developed and done by people from your generation. MTV changing? That wasn’t us. Macs becoming popular? Blame you all for buying up that crap and paying Steve Job’s paycheck for years. I suppose I’m one of the rare millenials that has a job, but it certainly isn’t in film or any other media. I work on the phones talking to customers about their electronics that don’t work. I hear you all bitch and moan all day about how your iPhone shouldn’t break and how you forgot to buy AppleCare. It’s a thankless job, and it isn’t in my field at all, but I do it. And damn is it good to have a paycheck to look forward to. However, not everyone who just graduated from college gets to do that. Jobs are scarce. I know so many people who graduated who can’t seem to find anything, let alone a “fulfilling” job to do. I almost didn’t take the time to respond since it is almost too hard to believe that you are serious in writing your comments, but I felt something needed to be said. Lisa, you and your ilk are the ones responsible for the mess that we are in. How can we be the ones to blame for the job market if we are just now trying to enter it?

  • Lisa, your stereotypes of our generation are absolutely ridiculous. I’m so sick of the older gens saying just get a job. Well guess what? There aren’t any. The only thing that is going to save our generation is for all the privileged old white men who run this godforsaken country to die off already.

  • First of all pissedoff is too much, i lived through the Vietnam/Woodstock/raceriots era. I have classmates with large holes in their bodies, missing limbs, and agent orange poisoning–they deserve to be pissed off. Lisa has a point, millennials sucked into Connectivity live in a closed loop of sensory deprivation where an evening is spent with laptop on Facebook talking on iPhone to Facebook friend with ear buds connected to iPod or doing Arcade Fire on Spotify all the while glancing at espn on a flatscreen tv. And you guys wonder about your obesity rates? Job seeking is whatever is on Craig’s List, you won’t take the menial jobs we did to get by, and none of you know the first thing about a car, like even how to change the oil, or replace brake pads.

  • Yeah. Fuck this generation. When I was a wee lad we all knew how to fix a covered wagon when the wheel spoke broke, secure the reins, and caulk the bottom. Damn kids these days. I’m with ya’, Hilary. Every one of the little buggers should be both a car mechanic and buggy expert.

  • Hilary, I feel compelled to address your comment in an effort to cure your ignorance. Minimum wages have been lower back then, but so were living expenses. The minimum wage I worked for between semesters and jobs couldn’t even cover monthly rent in a rough neighborhood. Hell, my first professional job could barely do that! What’s more I listened to my coworkers who weren’t lucky enough to get college education who have to work 2 part time jobs that occupy more than 14 hours of their day on sporatic schedules. A few decades ago, a high school drop out could work in a retail store and receive benefits and pensions. This is not the case anymore. Instead of judging an entire age group like most people do, try to put yourself in someone else’ shoes. That’s the problem with America these days that cause complacent policymakers to cut benefits for struggling people. FYI, I guess you can call me a “handy Millenial”. I can do many things from domestic chores to fixing things. …………………your move……;)

  • Awesome!

  • My sympathies and good wishes to Lisa Jones. As a human being I am not perfect, but looking at your profile pic, I can’t help but point out the poisons you conveyed on this blog. Generalizing us Millennials as “squeaky Kim Kardashians”, using slander such as “douchebag”, etc. As one who has taken Refuge with the Three Gems, I can only share my knowledge of the Dharma with you, and maintain that I, as a human being, remain far from Enlightenment. But don’t your words and responses come off as complacent, ignorant, hostile, and shallow? Recall the Three Poisons: ignorance, hostility, and attachment. Through your strong, somewhat acidic comments, I detected ignorance and hostility. Now if the Lotus Master( think that’s who it is) profile pic of yours carries any personal meaning for you…….I think I’ve said what needs to be said. But it would be nice to know exactly what WAS your motive for such a profile pic choice.

    Now for the others, I presume, from the Boomer generation on this blog, I have something to add. Assuming Lisa is a Boomer, possibly explains her choice of profile pic, then it would make more logical sense that, that generations economic and political decisions reflect the Counterculture ideologies they were known for. Peace, civil liberty, anti poverty, and human rights were values I took from the history book chapters of the period( not to mention the Aggie bookstore sold those books for rock-bottom clearance prices, pun intended). Why have the generation dominated by Boomers been the decades we saw widening wealth gaps, more profound foreign military operations (aka wars), and a war on the working poor fueled by corporate greed and outsourcing?

    Historically speaking, it seems more to me that Boomers utilized the ideologies of the Silent Generation and the oppressed to justify their unwillingness to go to war, or to adhere to the Greatest Generation’s values of serving your country and working for it. We know that’s what the Counterculture was all about: not wanting to go to war or do what Mom and dad did. The only difference was the Boomers still had a robust, unionized economy to return to once they “got it together”. Education was tremendously cheaper. One summer working part time can pay for a year of college. In contrast, I noticed many of my friends who volunteered to go to Iraq and Afghanistan, joined ROTC, and the rest of us who did not engage in sexual debauchery or over experimentation of drugs. Working a year part time on multiple jobs can barely pay for one semester. Veterans get beaten by police for protesting poor civilian job prospects. Whether we find meaningful employment that pays the bills and feeds our bellies remains to be seen. In the end, both of our cohorts seemed raised with values and a sense of duty. The only difference is the former had something to fall back to, but we, the latter don’t because it was slowly dismantled by the former over the course of three decades.

    So I want to ask Boomers: why did you adopt progressive ideologies and mystic eastern traditions? Was it because you actually believed in those values or life was too good back then to assume any social responsibilities?

  • I hate these whiney bitchy hipster millenials too. They ruin all the fun for everyone. They vote for democrats and want everything handed to them. They are lazy and self absorbed and stupid. I mean really really stupid. They religiously watch reality tv and whine about the environment, enough already. Go put on your skinny jeans and please , for the love of all that is holy…..KILL YOURSELVES.

  • To those on this thread who would stoop to insulting and slandering my generation despite the fact yourselves have disenfranchised us by means of your complacency and privileged upbringings, it makes me relieved knowing you will be retired and dead in the near future. Notice: no insult in pointing out eminent truths…..;)

  • By the way, Jones…….are you on drugs? :/

  • Everyone blames this generation :( .My six year old only gets presents on special occasions ie Christmas. I follow through with discipline and guidance and i have a sweet, well mannered, respectful child. She is not spoiled. Just because some parents can’t raise their child PLEASE stop blaming a whole generation. That builds the GENERATION GAP if you keep blaming them do you really think they will feel they can ever come to the older generation for advice? I have great respect for all people regardless of their age. But these posts make me feel I don’t want to leap the divide because its assumed my generation and my children are spoilt and disrespectful. Feeling disenhearted. I was raised among multiple generations but they did not sit their and say oh your x or y and just because you are I believe you will grow up to be horrible. I had attentive grand parents, parents and my younger siblings are 14 years my junior and are not spoilt or act entitled. when mum needed a break we helped. We did chores because we were a family unit and if one didnt pull their weight the system would collapse resulting in tears for all. My parents raised 5 children in a one income family while mum stayed at home. Money was tight and we got “treats” at Christmas. We played outside and built forts and rode bikes. We were taught to say please and thankyou, give your seat to an elderly or pregnant women, listen when spoken to. Have respect for your elders, don’t steal, swear or act violently. I was RAISED properly. My daughter is being raised PROPERLY. Please have some common courtesy for others and don’t assume because someone or their family members are born into a bracket of years they will be “FERALS”. Ever heard of stereotypes? WE don’t categorize people by gender or race anymore. So please don’t stereotype my and my child’s generation. And as for employment i worked in vineyards at 12 and did stock taking and cleaning until 18. Then i worked flipping burgers and doing school went into aged care, married at 20 divorced at 30 single mum for two years, worked, built up our life again remarried and happy. Also went through some terrible ordeals (dont we all but builds character), dusted myself off. I have learnt it matters little the age of a person but how they suck it up and get back into it. I have friends from 20-73 and we discuss everything. I love hearing their wisdom and in return I help them with technology(bit iffy myself on that) Im still learning what omg means. I think the biggest problem is the lack of community where we all pitch in then get on with it. thankyou and I wish you all a nice day.